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NR 114, 146, 524 Update: 

The Operator Certification program is launching a new computer-based format for all Operator Certification exams. Additional information regarding the new exam format, applications and registration can be found at Operator Certification Exams.

The Operator Certification program is launching a new computer-based format for all Operator Certification exams. While the exam content continues to be managed by the department, several steps have changed in the application process.

Included in the new process is a second registration process with our contractor PSI. The PSI exam fee should not be mailed to the department. Any DNR exam application that is submitted with the PSI fee will be returned to exam applicant with a request to only submit the DNR exam application form and DNR exam fee to the Operator Certification program. Additional information regarding the PSI registration and scheduling process can be found in the DNR Exam Application tab.

The department strongly encourage that all Remote Proctor (online) exams be taken on a personal computer. Attempting to take the exam on a work computer can result in problems being able to take the exam due to background programs and firewalls that cannot be running during the exam. If you attempt to take an exam with a work computer the department strongly encourages that you have someone with IT Administrator privileges available during your exam time to ensure you’re able to launch the exam session.

Please review all tabs below and the Wisconsin DNR Operator Certification Exams Candidate Handbook before filling out and submitting your DNR exam application form. The flow chart below shows the new exam application, registration, and scheduling process. Please note that processing time is 1-4 weeks from when you put your DNR exam application materials in the mail to when you will be contacted by email to register and schedule your exam. The steps completed by exam applicants are listed below:

  1. Complete and submit your DNR exam application and DNR fee by mail. Details and forms on the DNR Exam Applications tab.
  2. Once contacted by PSI via email, follow the information provided in the email to register and schedule your exam date, time, location (in-person or online), and specific testing center if taking exams in-person.
OpCert-Exam-Process-Flowchart-cropped.jpg

General Info

Ch. NR 114, 499 and 524 Wis. Adm. Code require an individual to pass one or more exams in order to become a certified operator. These exams are provided by a private vendor (PSI) who offers exams at seven computer labs across the state as well as online exams completed remotely from the exam taker's computer.

All exams will be completed using a computer, with the only exception being the Wastewater - Unique (Subclass U) exam (subclass U). For additional information for Subclass U exams please see the "Paper/Hardship" tab.

All exams are multiple choice except the Wastewater - Unique (Subclass U) exam , which is short answer. Question information for each exam is listed below:

  • Wastewater – General: 50 questions
  • Wastewater - Suspended Growth Processes: 50 questions
  • Wastewater - Attached-Growth Processes: 50 questions
  • Wastewater –Recirculating Media Filters: 25 questions
  • Wastewater – Ponds, Lagoons, and Natural Systems: 50 questions
  • Wastewater – Anaerobic Treatment of Liquid Waste: 25 questions
  • Wastewater – Solids Separation: 50 questions
  • Wastewater – Biological Solids/Sludge: 50 questions
  • Wastewater – Disinfection: 50 questions
  • Wastewater - Laboratory: 50 questions
  • Wastewater – Total Nitrogen: 25 questions
  • Wastewater – Total Phosphorus: 50 questions
  • Wastewater - Sanitary Sewer Collection System: 50 questions
  • Wastewater – Advanced: 100 questions
  • Municipal Waterworks – Distribution: 40 questions
  • Municipal Waterworks – Groundwater: 40 questions
  • Municipal Waterworks – Iron Removal: 40 questions
  • Municipal Waterworks – Lime Softening: 40 questions
  • Municipal Waterworks – Surface Water: 80 questions
  • Municipal Waterworks – VOC Removal: 40 questions
  • Municipal Waterworks – Zeolite Softening: 40 questions
  • Small Water System – Water System General Operation: 40 questions
  • Septage – Septage Operator Grade L: 40 questions
  • Septage - Septage Operator Grade T: 40 questions
  • Septage – Septage Master Operator Grade L: 25 questions
  • Septage - Septage Master Operator Grade T: 40 questions
  • Solid Waste – Site Operator: 50 questions
  • Solid Waste - Facility Manager: 50 questions
  • Private Water - Pump Installer: 100 questions
  • Private Water - Water Well Driller: 100 questions
  • Private Water – Heat Exchange Driller: 80 questions

A score of 75% or higher is a passing score for Municipal Waterworks, Wastewater, Septage and Small Water Systems (OTM/NN) exams. A score of 70% or higher is a passing score for Solid Waste (Landfill) exams.

Exam results are provided to the exam taker immediately upon completing the exam. The one exception is the Wastewater - Unique exam, which can take up to four weeks for grading and notification. An additional score report will be provided to the exam taker via email by PSI.

Please read the Wisconsin DNR Operator Certification Exams Candidate Handbook for complete information for the exam application and registration process for PSI and Wisconsin DNR. Additional information, including study guides, can be found under the various program certification tabs, which can be found on the righthand side of this webpage

New Format

Beginning on January 13, 2022, Wisconsin's certification exams will be provided on the new computer-based format.

The old format of in-person, DNR-proctored exams will no longer be used, except in rare situations (see Exam Hardship Process section under the Hand-Written Exams tab).

The new exam format will allow for taking exams whenever they fit into your schedule, offering both an in-person option (at one of seven computer labs around the state) and a remote virtual option (from a work or personal computer). The new exam process will also provide results immediately to the test taker upon completing the exam.

The flow chart below shows the new exam application, registration, and scheduling process. The steps completed by exam applicants are listed below:

  1. Complete and submit your DNR exam application and DNR fee by mail. Details and forms on the DNR Exam Applications tab.
  2. Once contacted by PSI via email, follow the information provided in the email to register and schedule your exam date, time, location (in-person or online), and specific testing center if taking exams in-person.
OpCert-Exam-Process-Flowchart-cropped.jpg

Additional information regarding the differences between the two exam options, the new application process, the new scheduling steps with DNR's contractor PSI, and other information can be found on the tabs below on this webpage.

Exam Options

Computer Lab Exams: In-Person

PSI has computer labs available in the cities listed below. If you would like to preview the specific testing locations please review this link.

  • Stevens Point
  • Green Bay
  • Oshkosh
  • La Crosse
  • Madison
  • Pewaukee
  • Waukesha
  • Racine
  • Duluth, Minnesota
  • Marquette, Michigan

Please review this video that provides an overview of the PSI computer lab testing center exam experience.

Remote Proctor Exams: Online

"Online exams", known as "remote proctoring" (RP) exams, can be taken online from any location as long as the computer or laptop meets the requirements of PSI's exam format (internet connection, webcam, microphone).

Once the DNR exam application has been submitted and approved, the exam applicant will be contacted directly via email by PSI to register for the specific exam and schedule the exam date and time.

Please review this video that provides an overview of the PSI Remote Proctor exam experience.

Technology Requirements: Compatibility Check for Online Exam

  • After scheduling, exam applicants who select the online exam format will receive a confirmation email from PSI with instructions for accessing the online examination. In that confirmation email, applicants are required to run PSI's technology compatibility tool (PSI Bridge: Online Proctoring System Requirements platform) to verify that the exam applicant has the appropriate hardware and software for remote-proctor exams. This tool will also be launched on the day of exam administration as a final check for compatibility. You can also access the compatibility test linked below
  • Online Proctoring System Check (psiexams.com)
  • PSI technology requirements for online, remote proctored exams include a functioning webcam, microphone, and internet connection. A full list of computer system requirements will be tested for by PSI's technology compatibility tool.

After scheduling, exam applicants who select the online exam format will receive a confirmation email from PSI with instructions for accessing the online examination. In that confirmation email, applicants are required to run PSI's technology compatibility tool (PSI Bridge: Online Proctoring System Requirements platform) to verify that the exam applicant has the appropriate hardware and software for remote-proctor exams. This tool will also be launched on the day of exam administration as a final check for compatibility.

PSI technology requirements for online, remote proctored exams include a functioning webcam, microphone, and internet connection. A full list of computer system requirements will be tested for by PSI’s technology compatibility tool.

Exam Scheduling

The DNR's previous exam structure had a set date for exams that occurred once every three months. After receiving DNR exam application approval, the new exam format allows for exams to be scheduled on any date preferred by the exam taker. Computer lab exams are available six days per week and online, remote proctored exams are available seven days per week.

Upon receiving the exam registration and scheduling email from PSI, an exam applicant can schedule an exam as soon as the next day. More information regarding exam scheduling can be found under the "DNR Exam Applications" tab.

Exam Time Limits

New time periods have been set based on the specific exam or exam bundle being taken. Exam time lengths are listed on the DNR Exam Application forms.

Paper/Hardship

Wastewater - Unique (Subclass U) Exams

The only exam that will not be a computer-based format is Wastewater - Unique (subclass U). To request an application for a Subclass U exam please email DNROpCert@wisconsin.gov with the subject line "Wastewater - Unique (subclass U) exam request)

Exam Hardship Process

If an exam applicant has a legitimate documented reason for being unable to complete an exam either in-person at a testing center or from a personal or employer computer via remote proctor, please contact the Operator Certification Coordinator to request a hardship waiver at DNROpCert@wisconsin.gov.

Note: hardship exam sessions will only be approved on an extremely limited basis.

In-person exams will only be permitted for approved hardship waivers and Wastewater-Unique exams.

Private Water

The Private Water program has three exams to become a Private Water license holder:

  • Pump Installer
  • Water Well Driller
  • Heat Exchange Driller

Private Water Supply exams are "open-code." Clean copies of chapters NR 146, NR 812 and NR 811 are provided to exam registrants in a sealed envelope by the Department. The code reference copies are to remain sealed in the envelope until the start of the exam. No other open-book references are allowed.

Pump Installer Applicants

Pump Installer license exam applicants should download, complete, and submit the exam application by mail with the required fee to the mailing address found on the form. The application can be downloaded from the "DNR Exam Applications" tab.

Driller Applicants

Water Well Driller and Heat Exchange Driller exam applicants must request an application by emailing DNRDGLicensing@wisconsin.gov. After eligibility review and approval, the exam application will be provided to the applicant for completion and submittal via mail.

FAQ

Exam Application

What is the new exam application process?

The exam application process requires two steps from the exam application. 1) Complete and submit a DNR exam application form and DNR exam fee to Wisconsin DNR's mailing address. More information is under the DNR Exam Application tab. 2) You will receive an email to register and schedule your exam(s). A link to PSI's exam registration and scheduling portal will be provided in the email.

OpCert-Exam-Process-Flowchart-cropped.jpg
Step two of the exam application involves receiving an exam registration email. Who will be sending the exam registration email?

The exam registration and scheduling email will be sent by PSI's scheduling subcontractor, AMP. The email sender name is "AMP Customer Service" and the email address is schedule@goamp.com.

How long does the application process take once I mail my DNR exam application?

From the day you put your DNR exam application and DNR fees in the mail to the day you receive your exam registration and scheduling email, the application process can take 1-4 weeks. If your exam application is submitted to DNR incorrectly it will be returned to you by mail with requests for how to correct the item(s) and resubmit the application.

How should I list my name on the exam application?

Your name should be an exact match to the photo ID you will be providing to PSI on exam day. If the name you provide to DNR is a shortened version of your name as it appears on your ID you will not be admitted to the exam session and your fee will not be refunded.

What information is required on the DNR exam application form?

Your full name as its displayed on your photo ID that will be used for exam check in, mailing address, email address, and Social Security Number. For those applying for Municipal Waterworks or Small Water System (OTM/NN) exams, a signature and date certifying the possession of a high school diploma or GED is also required.

Why is my Social Security number required?

Wisconsin State Statutes 299.08(1), 29.024(2r)(a), and 299.07(1) require that the Operator Certification program submit an exam applicant or certified operator's Social Security number to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, Department of Workforce Development to ensure that the exam applicant or operator does not have any outstanding taxes or child support payments. Your Social Security number is securely stored and any documentation with your submitted number is either redacted or destroyed. Based on these state statutes, an exam applicant cannot receive exam scores, apply exam results, or renew their certification if they do not provide their Social Security number. Any exam results or certification renewal will be withheld or will not be processed until the information is provided. If you submit a DNR exam application without your Social Security number it will be returned to your by mail with request to provide the number accordingly.

Remote Proctor (online) Exams

What are the technology requirements for remote proctor exams?

An overview of the technology requirements can be found under the Exam Options tab. We also provide a link to PSI's Technology Compatibility Test tool. Please run this tool before scheduling a remote proctor exam session. A breakdown of the specific technical requirements can be found on page 11 of the Wisconsin DNR Operator Certification Exams Candidate Handbook.

Can I use a work computer for a remote proctor (online) exam?

The department and PSI strongly recommend the use of a personal computer for remote proctor exams. Attempting to take the exam on a work computer can result in problems being able to take the exam due to background programs or firewalls that cannot be running during the exam session. If you attempt to take the exam with a work computer the department strongly encourages that you have someone with IT Administrator privileges with your network available when you log in to your exam to ensure you are able to launch the exam session. Exam fees are nonrefundable and technology difficulties do not necessarily entitle an exam fee refund from the department or PSI.

Can I use a Chromebook laptop for my exam?

No, Chromebooks are not compatible with PSI's exam platform

Exam Day

This is my first time taking an exam with the new computer-based format. What should I expect?

Overall we strongly recommend you review all the information on the Operator Certification Exams page before beginning the exam application process. Additionally we strongly recommend you reach the Wisconsin DNR Operator Certification Exams Candidate Handbook, which provides Please review the information under the Exam Options tab. Along with a short explanation of the remote proctor (online) and the computer lab (in-person) options, a video link is available for both options, providing an overview of each testing experience.

When can I log into my remote proctor exam?

When taking the remote proctor (online) exam you may login up to 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start time but will not be connected with a proctor until the exam time.

When can I report for my computer lab (in-person) exam?

PSI recommends you report 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. If you arrive more than 15 minutes after the scheduled testing time you will not be admitted for your exam.

Can I use a calculator during the exam?

Yes, an on-screen calculator will for the entirety of all exams. Personal calculators and phone calculators are prohibited.

Retaking an Exam

How do I retake an exam that I did not pass?

To retake an exam please complete the two-step exam application process beginning with the DNR exam application form. Once processed you will receive the exam registration email with information and a link to PSI's online exam scheduling portal. Exam dates must be 30 days apart.

DNR Applications

The flow chart below shows the new exam application, registration, and scheduling process. The steps completed by exam applicants are listed below:

  1. Complete and submit your DNR exam application and DNR fee by mail. Details and forms on the DNR Exam Applications tab.
  2. Once contacted by PSI via email, follow the information provided in the email to register and schedule your exam date, time, location (in-person or online), and specific testing center if taking exams in-person.

Print or download, complete, and mail the appropriate exam application form and exam application fee to the DNR's Operator Certification program. Please note that can only register for multiple exams during the same exam session by registering for a bundled exam. bundled exams are pre-set packages of more than one exam which are taken during the same testing session. Bundled exam sessions can only be registered for you if you have passed any the exams in the exam bundle. Bundled exam application forms can be found at the bottom of the page under the "Bundled exam application" section.

You can register for one or multiple single-exam applications at a time by completing the appropriate Single Exam Application. You may check multiple exams on the same exam application form. As a reminder, each Single Exam Application can only be taken as one exam per exam session.

Exam application fees can be paid for by check, money order, or cash. Please write all checks to "Wisconsin DNR". Submit completed exam application and fee(s) to the mailing address below. The Operator Certification program will review and process complete applications within 10 business days of the mail being received.

Department of Natural Resources
Operator Certification EA/7
PO Box 7921 Madison, WI
53707-7921

Required Information And Materials

Any exam application form that is missing any of the following information will either be put on hold for processing until the information is provided, or will be mailed back to the exam applicant with a request to provide the missing information.

Below is a list of exam applicant information or materials that will cause an application to be considered incomplete, if omitted:

  • Email address
  • Social Security number (page 2 of each exam application form)
  • Exam fee(s)
  • Certification of high school diploma/GED: Municipal Waterworks and Small Water System--OTM/NN-- exams only

PSI Exam Registration and Scheduling

Once a DNR application has been approved and processed, the Operator Certification program will forward the exam applicant's information to PSI, after which exam applicants will be contacted by PSI via email within two business days.

The email sent by PSI will provide a link to PSI's exam registration and scheduling platform. Registration includes an exam registration fee based on exam time length. The PSI exam fee should not be submitted to DNR. The below fees will be requested by PSI during the exam registration and scheduling process. Any DNR exam application that is submitted with the PSI fee will be returned to exam applicant.

  • 1-hour session: $70
  • 2-hour session: $80
  • 3-hour session: $90

Exam registration will provide two exam options. Additional information regarding these two options can be found under the "Exam Options" tab.

  • Computer lab: in-person
  • Online: remote proctor (RP)

Application Forms

Below are the DNR exam application forms for each program. Please review the Required information and materials section above before completing an application form. If an applicant wants to take more than one exam during the same testing session they must apply for a bundled exam.

Renew Online

You can now renew your wastewater, municipal waterworks, and small water system certifications online through the Environmental Licensing and Certification Online Renewal Portal.